The female actors of Bollywood are breaking the taboo about them just being an eye candy and have time and again proved that they can carry a film solely on their shoulders. 2017 gave cinephiles more such films which proved it even further. Secret Superstar, Anarkali Of Arah, Tumhari Sulu, Lipstick Under My Burkha and Phillauri just to name a few. The leading ladies of these films made a difference and offered the society something more than just entertainment. In times when Bollywood failed to deliver impressive content, the work of these actresses was a refreshing departure.
As 2017 comes to an end, we list the female actors who put up a great show with their ace acting skills and succeeded in binding the audiences to the screen for good 120 minutes and more.
1. Zaira Wasim (Secret Superstar)
The story of a fifteen-year-old Vadodara-based Insiya in Secret Superstar was made believable by the flawless acting of Zaira Wasim. Her portrayal of an ordinary character in an extraordinary manner was a proof of age and experience being some of the last parameters to judge an actor. With Secret Superstar, she once again proved that she has acting chops at par with Bollywood’s best names.
The Indian Express movie reviewer Shubhra Gupta described Zaira as the strength of Secret Superstar. She wrote, “It is such a delight to see a 15-year-old look and feel like a regular teen, dealing disarmingly with first crushes and strumming a guitar properly, and not a painted doll.”
2. Cast of Lipstick Under My Burkha
The movie, which got stuck in six months long ‘sanskari’ battle with the censor board, had some power-packed performances from noted actresses Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sensharma, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur. The performance of the four protagonists of the film made it one of the key reasons to not miss this ‘lady-oriented’ film. Alankrita Shrivastava’s direction brought out Ratna Pathak Shah’s spot on expression of what goes inside a woman’s heart and Konkona’s portrayal of a wife who finds wings to fly away is an eye-opener in many ways. The terrific performances by the lead actors brought out Alankrita’s message loud and clear that she was not making a film on any social issue. Rather she made a point that it’s ok for women to have sexual desires.
3. Vidya Balan (Tumhari Sulu)
The portrayal of Vidya Balan’s character Sulochana as a dutiful, shy wife yet an intelligent one came as a mirror to the women in real life. Vidya rightfully explored the nuances of a homemaker’s life and presented it in front of the audiences with her ace acting skills. If it was not her infectious confidence of carrying herself, the film might have lost its simplistic touch which made it stand apart from other Bollywood flicks.
4. Bhumi Pednekar (Toilet Ek Prem Katha)
She first broke stereotypes around a woman’s weight in her Bollywood debut Dum Laga Ke Haisha and then she stunned all with her choices of films as she appeared next in Toilet Ek Prem Katha, a social drama. Bhumi owned the role of Jaya entirely and didn’t let her character be overshadowed by the presence of Akshay Kumar. Her de-glam, girl next door look made a connection with the audience and the actor made it loud and clear that she can fit into any role given to her. Her second release of the year Shubh Mangal Saavdhan which was again about breaking a taboo pretty much proved the point further.
5. Parvathy (Qarib Qarib Singlle)
Known for her Malayalam hits, Parvathy made her Bollywood debut with Irrfan Khan starrer Qarib Qarib Singlle and proved her acting mettle yet again. She emerged as someone who can hold her own among the big names in the industry. She essayed the role of a 35-year-old widow Jaya in the movie who gives herself another chance and meets Irrfan’s free-spirited Yogi during her quest for love.
Her role in the Tanuja Chandra film fetched her positive reviews from across the country. Also, she joined the bandwagon of actors who preferred going de-glam in 2017 and sported a no-makeup look onscreen.
6. Swara Bhaskar (Anaarkali Of Aarah)
Swara Bhaskar is one actor who is known for giving it all to the characters she portrays on the silver screen. This is exactly what she did in Avinash Das’ raunchy musical film Anarkali Of Aarah. Swara played the role of a dancer who refuses to cowe down by the society just because of her choices in life. As put by film critic Shubhra Gupta, “It is a full-bodied, crackling film, powered by a full-bodied, crackling performance from leading lady Swara Bhaskar, who lives her role as Aarah wali Anaarkaliya (as a character calls her). Anaarkali manages to hit many marks. Bhaskar gets a lead role worthy of her.”
7. Shweta Tripathi (Haraamakhor)
Propelled into the limelight with her Bollywood debut Masaan, Shweta Tripathi once again won hearts with her 15-year-old schoolgirl character of Sandhya who falls for her teacher Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). The actor put such a convincing act in the movie that people failed to guess Shweta’s (30) actual age.
8. Anushka Sharma (Phillauri)
As Anushka Sharma aka Shashi doled out love advice to a confused Kanan in Phillauri, the audience fell in love with her comic character. The actress lightened up the screen quite literally every time she had arrived on the screen and her fans were left charmed yet again. The versatility of the actor was put out for a display in the movie and she emerged as the most lovable ghost of Bollywood. Her Shashi 3D silhouette was done with great detailing.
9. Kriti Sanon (Bareilly Ki Barfi)
Kriti Sanon made a perfect ‘Barfi’ in this Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari directorial and her ‘chote sheher ki ladki’ role was as fresh as a daisy as until now the actor did only the glam roles where she played an arm candy. Her dance in the songs “Sweety Tera Drama” and “Twist Kamariya” got appreciated by all.
10. Kangana Ranaut (Simran)
Kangana Ranaut had two releases this year, Rangoon and Simran. While the former tanked at the box office, the latter tried to save the year for Simran but eventually, this one too failed to wow the cinephiles. But Kangana’s performance in the movies turned out to be the only saving grace of the movie. In the movie, Kangana played divorced-at-30, searching-for-self Praful Patel who don’t even make an attempt at being nice to others. She is happy with her flawed self.